Crowds get in gear for annual fireworks festivities
By Mike Lauterborn
(posted to Fairfield.Patch.com 7/7)
Fairfield, CT – They grilled, played board games, flipped Frisbees, splashed in the water or just laid out. It was a welcome lead-up to the evening’s Woodstock-like festivities and fireworks.
Early Monday morning July 4th, even before sunrise, visitors to Penfield and Jennings Beaches began to arrive, claiming grills, staking out tables, and setting up canopies, tents and circles of sports chairs. As the day evolved, empty spaces filled in and parking lots – all three at Penfield – filled up. Then spaces curbside, for those that had town permits, began to fill. And when those were all taken, cars pulled up to the beach, depositing carloads of people at entry gates. All the activity was not unexpected, though it was somewhat overwhelming for the staff facilitating operations.
In one area, a game of beanbag toss was underway, between a Fairfield family and a Ridgefield family that had just met each other and become fast friends. Up under a tent, from which a red, white and blue mobile had been hung, a group of young Fairfielders, calling themselves “The Fairfield Situation”, were enjoying some lunch. A trio of teenaged school pals – Patty Ghazal, Adriana Montoya and Nayara Ribeiro – were soaking up the sun.
Many took a moment to stroll the deck of the new Pavilion, which had just opened for the holiday weekend. It offered some limited food, bathrooms and a majestic glass façade that accentuated the beach setting.
Standing out in the crowd was a pack of young people that had dubbed themselves “The Couch Potatoes”. The name was highly appropriate given that they had dragged a couch down to the beach from a nearby rental home. About a dozen of them piled onto the couch, joking and laughing with each other.
Taking advantage of the day to gain a little exposure for his business, Joe Oppedisano, of East Coast United Brazilian Jiujitsu, had placed a sign beside a canopy and was hosting a number of students from his class.
Whatever their motives for visiting, beachgoers were glad for a sun-filled day and eagerly anticipated the evening’s live musical entertainment and fireworks show. Lasting memories were being made, which would only be added to as the day progressed.